White House Warriors: How the National Security Council Transformed the American Way of War (W.W. Norton’s Liveright) is a revelatory history written with riveting DC insider detail.
Combining extensive archival research with new interviews, White House Warriors: How the National Security Council Transformed the American Way of War demonstrates that knowing the NSC staff’s war stories is the only way to truly understand American foreign policy. As this essential account builds to the stormy tenure of National Security Advisor John Bolton, we see why the book became a must read — and its lessons a central part of the conversation — around the collapse of the National Security Council under Donald Trump.
Praise for White House Warriors
“White House Warriors is a bottom-up history, told largely from the perspective of NSC staffers…Mr. Gans’s account makes us conclude that all too often its successes are a matter of luck and circumstance more than design.” – The Wall Street Journal
“This forceful historical account is a much-needed published assessment, given that NSC members are generally not known to the public… This book is essential reading for all interested in politics, government, and contemporary U.S. history.” — Booklist, starred review
“In his breezy White House Warriors, John Gans offers an enlightening summary of the NSC’s history from the Truman through the Obama Administrations.” — The New Republic
“These stories are rollicking and compellingly told. They offer an instructive glimpse into what NSC staffers actually do and why presidents eventually find reliance on them irresistible, across a long run of administrations.” — Lawfare
“The genius of White House Warriors is that it doesn’t have a partisan axe to grind. Gans doesn’t comment on the policies each president pursued, but on how they were implemented in a crisis. He is critical of most Republican and Democratic administrations’ NSCs, and his evenhandedness lends the recommendations for reform at the end of the book more weight.” — National Review
“Controversial, compellingly written, and above all an essential read for anyone who wants to know not only why the United States goes to war, but how.” — Eliot Cohen, author of Supreme Command
“This is an especially lucid account of how Washington came to deal with the rest of the world… Gans is one of the most knowledgeable experts we have on the National Security Council staff.” — James Mann, author of Rise of the Vulcans and The Obamians
“With keen insights, deep research, and just the right amount of empathy, John Gans takes us inside the long and sometimes crisis-filled days of some of the lucky few who have worked in the White House.” — Alyssa Mastromonaco, former White House Deputy Chief of Staff, New York Times best-selling author, and Co-Host of Hysteria Podcast
“The NSC, part star chamber, part gladiator arena, and part Game of Thrones drama is expertly revealed to us in the pages of Gans’ primer on Washington power.” — Kurt Campbell, former Assistant Secretary of State and Chairman of the Asia Group, LLC
“In the tradition of David Halberstam, Gans has provided an essential account of one of Washington’s most consequential, but also most misunderstood, working parts.” — Graeme Wood, author of The Way of the Strangers
“This insightful and compelling book helps make sense of how the White House’s powerful National Security Council staff works and also why it often doesn’t.” — Gary J. Bass, author of The Blood Telegram
“Anyone who wants to work in a White House or understand one, should read this essential new book.” — Jennifer Palmieri, former White House Communications Advisor and New York Times best-selling author of Dear Madame President
“Gans shines a bright light on these National Security Council staffers and shows how they have influenced presidential decisions on war for decades.” — Ivo H. Daalder, former US Ambassador to NATO and coauthor of In the Shadow of the Oval Office.
“Gans takes all of us inside the staff’s daily work as well as the debates and decisions that continue to transform America’s relationship with the world.” — Josh Earnest, former White House Press Secretary
“A chief value of the book…is the author’s focus on case studies about how less-visible staff have exerted influence… A useful historical study that will especially interest those seeking a look at government from the inside.” – Kirkus Reviews
For more on the book, please see here.